Pacific Energy Vista insert
I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on our choice...we have a fireplace (Heatilator from the late 50's) and we're in the process of getting ready to purchase a wood-burning insert. Originally we thought the Pacific Energy "Pacific" insert would fit the bill perfectly, but after measuring and having a site inspection done, it appears that the opening width is not wide enough to install the "Pacific" (by 5/8 inch...dang!). Other than removing 5/8 inches of surrounding metal firebox (remember, it's a Heatilator PITA), which is not cost effective from the standpoint of deconstruction, we have to go with the smaller model, the Vista. Our house is slightly less than 1,500 sq. ft., according to who does the measuring, and the Vista claims to cover 1,500 sq. ft. of heating area. We plan on keeping our oil burner set at 60 degrees, and using the insert as much as possible to keep the heating costs down. We live on 7 wooded acres and have plenty of wood available for seasoning through the coming years. We currently have approximately 3 cords of seasoned, split, stacked hardwood, as well.
We've also looked at the Lopi and Jotul and have to say that aesthetically the Lopi is not our first choice. The Jotul dealer in our area is a tad...um...difficult, and I'm not too happy with how he wants us to commit to a contract prior to his doing a site inspection. And he doesn't come for a site inspection unless you've "committed". So, no thanks to that. We like the Pacific Energy reviews, their warranty, the local dealer, and liked the site inspection guy (who has a wealth of info), everything about Pacific including the price. Which is why we chose Pacific Energy. But we can't have the insert we planned on. Our concern is that the Vista isn't large enough and won't have a long enough burn time (only 6 hours compared to 8). Am I splitting hairs? Will the Vista be stove enough for our application? The Lopi claims it covers 1,200-1,500 sq. ft., and the model ("Revere") is considered a "medium-sized" unit ( also, the Lopi would run us an additional $800-$900). The Pacific Energy claims a 1,500 sq. ft. coverage, and the Vista is considered a "small" unit. They both seem comparable otherwise, but the Pacific Energy is the manufacturer we like more. Any thoughts?